Toh Kian Sing.JPEG

Toh Kian Sing, SC

Senior Partner

Practice Area:

Shipping & International Trade
International Arbitration
China-Related Investment Dispute Resolution

Bachelor of Law(Hons), National University of Singapore
Bachelor of Civil Law (1st Class), University of Oxford
Advocate & Solicitor, Singapore
Solicitor, England and Wales
Senior Accredited Specialist (Maritime and Shipping), Singapore Academy of Law
Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK)
Fellow, Singapore Institute of Arbitrators

T +65 6232 0614

Toh Kian Sing, SC is a Senior Partner at Rajah & Tann Singapore’s Shipping & International Trade practice, and was appointed Senior Counsel by the Supreme Court of Singapore in January 2007. He has also been appointed as a Senior Accredited Specialist for Maritime and Shipping Law under the Singapore Academy of Law’s Specialist Accreditation Scheme.

He brings to his law practice a background of academic excellence and experience having taught full time and subsequently, as an Adjunct Associate Professor, carriage of goods by sea, admiralty practice and conflict of law with the Faculty of Law of the National University of Singapore.

Chambers Asia Pacific 2024 ranks him as a “Band 1” lawyer (since 2015) and clients describe him as “a real expert in his field who cuts to the chase and grabs the key issues very quickly.”

He is also recognised as a “Leading Lawyer” by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific (since 2017) and has been described as an “master strategist”.

Kian Sing is ranked by Benchmark Litigation Asia Pacific 2024 as a “Litigation Star” and by Asialaw Profiles 2023 as an “Elite Practitioner”. He was also recommended as a “National Leader” in the Commercial Litigation and Transport – Shipping guides by Who’s Who Legal: Southeast Asia 2023, and named “Singapore Maritime Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers 2021.

Apart from a busy court practice, he also acts as counsel in shipping and commodity arbitrations (in Singapore and elsewhere) and accepts appointments to act as arbitrator in these areas. He is on the panel of arbitrators of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre, Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration, Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre, China Maritime Arbitration Commission, Shanghai International Arbitration Centre, Asian International Arbitration Centre (formerly known as Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration), Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration, The Japan Commercial Arbitration Association and has accepted appointments to act in ICC arbitrations.

Kian Sing’s scope of expertise includes bills of lading, charterparty, marine insurance and reinsurance, credit insurance (for commodity trading), shipbuilding, ship sale and purchase litigation as well as arbitration, oil and bunker trading, oil rigs and commodity disputes as well as letters of credit litigation. His practice also includes managing complex cross border litigation and arbitration in areas such as shipping, commodity, mining concessions, trade finance, international banking, insurance and reinsurance. He is the author of a book on admiralty law (now into its third edition), co-author of a book on bills of lading (published in December 2020) as well as numerous articles in the field of shipping and letters of credit.

Additionally, Kian Sing has nearly two decades of experience handling trade finance matters, both of a contentious and non-contentious nature. He has argued many of the recently reported Singapore decisions involving letters of credit as well as advised Singapore banks and commodity house in trade finance litigation in jurisdictions such as the UK, New York, Korea, China, India and even Iraq.

He also handles drafting and non-contentious work for banks and is responsible for preparing the complete set of letter of credit forms for several leading trade finance banks in Singapore.

 He has conducted lengthy trials and interlocutory hearings before the Singapore International Commercial Court since its establishment.

Kian Sing is frequently consulted on sanction matters in international trade, having acted for financial institutions, commodity traders and carriers in disputes arising from North Korean, Venezuelan, and Russian sanctions.

In recent years, Kian Sing's practice has expanded into the field of joint venture as well as shareholders’ disputes, particularly those involving Chinese parties, as he is fluent in both spoken and written Mandarin and has years of experience acting for Chinese state and privately owned entities. In this regard Kian Sing has handled many Sino-foreign joint venture disputes as counsel and arbitrator in Singapore, Hong Kong and China on non-maritime areas. Such joint venture disputes relate to diverse areas of business like hotel management, technology transfer, mining concessions, sub-sea projects, food production etc. He recently conducted a trial before the Singapore International Commercial Court on a US$1 billion joint venture claim on behalf of a Chinese client.

Having previously taught full time at the Faculty of Law of the National University of Singapore and now a Visiting Professor at Dalian Maritime University, he ‎continues to lecture on an adjunct basis in Singapore and China on the areas of shipping, international sale of goods and private international law.

Notable Cases & Transactions
Commodity; Arbitration 
  • Straits (Singapore) v ED&F (2020) (warehouse financing; restraint on use of documents in foreign proceedings)
  • Prestige Marine Services Pte Ltd v Marubeni International Petroleum (S) Pte Ltd (2012) (enforcement of arbitration award)
  • Alliance Concrete Singapore Pte Ltd v Comfort Resources Pte Ltd (2009) (sale of goods dispute)
  • Swift-Fortune Ltd v Magnifica Marine SA (2006) (Mareva injunction in favour of foreign arbitration)
  • Sinogreat International Trading Ltd v Hin Leong Trading (Pte) Ltd (2004) (sale of goods dispute)
  • Banque CantonaleVaudoise v Fujitrans (Singapore) Pte Ltd (2003) (discovery; warehouse finance fraud)
Letter of Credit / Commodity Fraud  
  • Sinopec v Bank of Communications, China (2021) (stay of proceedings, letter of credit dispute)
  • Abani Trading Pte Ltd v BNP Paribas (2014) (letters of credit claim)
  • Banque CantonaleVaudoise v Fujitrans (Singapore) Pte Ltd (2007) (discovery; warehouse finance fraud)
  • Standard Chartered Bank v Korea Exchange Bank (2005) (letters of credit claim)
  • Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd v Cho Hung Bank (2004) (letters of credit claim)
  • Mizuho Corporate Bank Limited v Woori Bank (2004) (letters of credit claim)
  • Beam Technology Pte Ltd v Standard Chartered Bank (2002) (rights and liability of confirming bank under letter of credit)
  • TapematicSpA v Wirana Pte Ltd (2002) (letter of credit dispute)
  • PSA v Korea Exchange Bank (2001) (banking secrecy)
  • Credit Agricole Indosuez v Banque Nationale de Paris (2001) (letter of credit dispute)
  • Banque De Commerce Et De Placements SA, DIFC Branch v China Aviation Oil (Singapore) Corporation Ltd (letter of credit claim, sham transactions, construction of letter of indemnity)
Offshore; Oil and Gas
  • Hai Jiang Ltd v Singapore Technology (2020) (anti-suit injunction on foreign arrest of vessels)
  • Hai Jiao Ltd v Yaw Chee Siew (2020) (SICC hearing; maritime insolvency; best endeavours obligation)
  • Transocean Offshore International Ventures Ltd v Burgundy Global Exploration Corporation (2010), (2014) (dichotomy between arbitration and jurisdiction clauses)
  • Hanwha Non-Life Insurance Co Ltd v Alba Pte Ltd (2012) (successful defence of re-insurance claim in Singapore) 
  • The Luna (2021) (bunker bills of lading; misdelivery)
  • The Yue You (2019) (rights of suit under bills of lading; misdelivery)
  • The “Xin Chang Shu” (2016) (wrongful arrest of vessels, setting aside of vessels)
  • The “Nasco Gem” (2014) (leave to appeal on setting aside of arrest of vessels)
  • Zweite Ms “Philippa Schulte” Shipping GmbH & Co KG v PSA Corp Ltd (2012) (port liability for damage to vessel)
  • The “Makassar Caraka Jaya Niaga III-39” (2011) (setting aside of arrest of vessel)
  • UCO Bank v Golden Shore Transportation Pte Ltd (2005) (rights of suit under bills of lading)
  • Keppel TatLee Bank Ltd v Bandung Shipping Pte Ltd (2003) (rights of suit under bills of lading)
  • The “Rainbow Spring” (2003) (setting aside of arrest of vessel)
  • UCO Bank v Golden View Maritime Pte Ltd (2003) (stay of proceedings)
  • The “An Ji Jiang” (2003) (charterparty dispute)
  • PSA v Korea Exchange Bank (2001) (banking secrecy)
  • Everbright Commercial Enterprises Pte Ltd v AXA Insurance Singapore Pte Ltd (2001) (marine insurance claim) 
Chinese Joint Venture Disputes / Shareholders’ Disputes
  • Senda International Capital Ltd v Kiri Industries Ltd and others (2020, 2023, 2024) (valuation of shares in joint venture company, variation of order for sale of shares, service of court process in China)
  • Shanghai Turbo Ltd v Liu Ming (2018) (service out of jurisdiction; submission to jurisdiction; floating choice of law and jurisdiction clauses)
  • Panel of Arbitrators, Beijing Arbitration Commission/ Beijing International Arbitration Center (since 2024)
  • Panel of Arbitrators, Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (since 2018)
  • Panel of Arbitrators, London Court of International Arbitration (since 2016)
  • Panel of Arbitrators, Asian International Arbitration Centre (formerly known as Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration) for Arbitration (since 2010)
  • Panel of Arbitrators, China Maritime Arbitration Commission (since 2005)
  • Panel of Arbitrators, Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (since 2004)
  • Panel of Arbitrators, Singapore International Arbitration Centre (since 2003)
  • Panel of Arbitrators, Shanghai International Arbitration Centre
  • Panel of Arbitrators, Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration
  • Panel of Arbitrators, The Japan Commercial Arbitration Association Fellow, Singapore Institute of Arbitrators (since 2006)
  • Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (since 2007)
  • Co-author, Bills of Lading (3rd Edition) published in December 2020 (Lloyd’s Shipping Law Library). Other authors include Sir Richard Aikens, Richard Lord QC, Michael Bools QC, Michael Bolding and Miriam Goldby.
  • Admiralty Law and Practice, 633 pages (Butterworths, 1998); 2nd Edition of Admiralty Law and Practice published in 2007; 3rd Edition in 2017 (cited in various Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Hong Kong judgments).
  • Contributing Author, The Law and Practice of Documentary Letters of Credit (2010).
  • Contributor to Singapore Civil Procedure (2003) and Annual Review of Singapore Cases (Admiralty and Shipping) (since 2005).
  • Contributor to Singapore Civil Procedure.
Selected Articles 
  • Wrongful Arrest of Ships, [2019] The Arrest Conventions: International Enforcement of Maritime Claims at page –
  • Admiralty and Shipping Law, (2020) 21 SAL Ann Rev 59.
  • Admiralty and Shipping Law, (2019) 20 SAL Ann Rev 29.